Adult-born granule cells (ABGCs) are involved in certain forms of hippocampus-dependent learning and memory. It has been proposed that young but functionally integrated ABGCs (4-weeks-old) specifically contribute to pattern separation functions of the dentate gyrus due to their heightened excitability, whereas old ABGCs (>8-weeks-old) lose these capabilities. Measuring multiple cellular and integrative characteristics of 3-10 weeks old individual ABGCs, we show that ABGCs consist of two functionally distinguishable populations showing highly distinct input integration properties (one group being highly sensitive to narrow input intensity ranges while the other group linearly reports input strength) that are largely independent of the cellular age and maturation stage, suggesting that 'classmate' cells (born during the same period) can contribute to the network with fundamentally different functions. Thus, ABGCs provide two temporally overlapping but functionally distinct neuronal cell populations, adding a novel level of complexity to our understanding of how life-long neurogenesis contributes to adult brain function.
Animal experimentation: All experimental procedures were performed in accordance with the ethical guidelines of the Institute of Experimental Medicine Protection of Research Subjects Committee (permission: 22.1/1760/003/2009) and were approved by the local virus safety committee.
- Gary L Westbrook, Vollum Institute, United States
© 2014, Brunner et al.
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Brain organoids have been used to recapitulate the processes of brain development and related diseases. However, the lack of vasculatures, which regulate neurogenesis and brain disorders, limits the utility of brain organoids. In this study, we induced vessel and brain organoids, respectively, and then fused two types of organoids together to obtain vascularized brain organoids. The fused brain organoids were engrafted with robust vascular network-like structures and exhibited increased number of neural progenitors, in line with the possibility that vessels regulate neural development. Fusion organoids also contained functional blood–brain barrier-like structures, as well as microglial cells, a specific population of immune cells in the brain. The incorporated microglia responded actively to immune stimuli to the fused brain organoids and showed ability of engulfing synapses. Thus, the fusion organoids established in this study allow modeling interactions between the neuronal and non-neuronal components in vitro, particularly the vasculature and microglia niche.
Fusing brain organoids with blood vessel organoids leads to the incorporation of non-neural endothelial cells and microglia into the brain organoids.